Stem cells may be behind similarities in domesticated species | 29 Calif. counties have confirmed West Nile cases | Safer rat poisons may be more dangerous to pets
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July 15, 2014
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Stem cells may be behind similarities in domesticated species
Across many species, domestication may result in genetic changes that show up in physical features such as floppy ears, patches of white, small jaws and smaller brains, according to a study in the journal Genetics. The changes affect the neural crest, a group of embryonic stem cells that forms near the developing spinal cord and migrates as the embryos of vertebrates develop. Mashable/Discovery News (7/14)
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29 Calif. counties have confirmed West Nile cases
A dead sparrow in Santa Cruz County, Calif., was found to be infected with West Nile virus, bringing the total number of California counties with confirmed cases this year to 29. Nine people have been diagnosed with the disease in 2014 in the state, compared to one at this point last year. Human cases of West Nile, which attacks the central nervous system, are typically not severe but can be dangerous to elderly people and patients with compromised immune systems. Santa Cruz Sentinel (Calif.) (7/14)
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Safer rat poisons may be more dangerous to pets
A new generation of rodent poisons designed to be safer for children and animals may prove more deadly for pets, veterinarians say. The 2008 decision by the Environmental Protection Agency to phase out long-acting coagulants, which are dangerous to pets but treatable with vitamin K, led to the new group for which there is no antidote. Dogs that eat the poison can become seriously ill in two to 24 hours, said veterinarian Gregg Laurence, with symptoms including hyperexcitability, twitching and seizures. West Central Tribune (Willmar, Minn.) (7/11)
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Officials intercept shipment of destructive snails
Officials at Los Angeles International Airport seized 67 live giant African snails, a particularly destructive pest, in an air cargo shipment from Nigeria. The snails, which can reach 8 inches in length and live as long as 10 years, are destructive to vegetation and structures, and carry parasites, including one that causes meningitis in humans. KNTV-TV (San Francisco) (7/15)
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Animal News
Minn. Zoo to start wolf pack with rescued Alaskan pups
Five 8-week-old wolf pups rescued during an Alaskan wildfire will travel to the Minnesota Zoo this week, to replace an aging wolf pair that never successfully reproduced. The pups, which were 2 weeks old when firefighters found them dehydrated and full of quills from a porcupine attack, will be quarantined for a month before going on display. Star Tribune (Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.) (7/14)
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Study: Chimps ape behavior just to stay stylish
Scientists have long known that chimpanzees mimic behaviors to find food or a mate, but recent research reveals the primates may also copy behaviors that seem to be nothing more than fashion statements. At a sanctuary in Zambia, a chimp named Julie started putting grass in her ear, and by the next year others had followed suit, says Katherine Cronin of the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics. National Public Radio (7/13)
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Around the Office
Successful entrepreneurs take customer feedback to heart
Startup Professionals CEO Marty Zwilling writes that successful entrepreneurs take the time and effort to truly listen to their customers, rather than viewing every interaction as an opportunity to overcome objections and make a sale. The Huffington Post/The Blog (7/11)
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Policy Watch
Calif. measure would set standards for pet insurance
New treatments and medications have pushed up the cost of veterinary care, according to AVMA research, making pet insurance policies an attractive option for more owners. But some owners say their policies come with too many exclusions and that carriers reject too many claims, spurring California lawmakers to propose a bill to set guidelines for the industry. The Sacramento Bee (Calif.) (free registration) (7/11)
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No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave."
-- Calvin Coolidge,
30th U.S. president
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